Erin Ryan

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2012

Publication Title

Administrative & Regulatory Law News

Publication Title (Abbreviation)

Admin. & Reg. L. News



First Page



Countless instances of intergovernmental bargaining offer a means of understanding the relationship between state and federal power that differs from the stylized model of “zero-sum” federalism that has come to dominate political discourse. The zero-sum model sees winner-takes-all jurisdictional competition between the federal and state governments for power, emphasizing sovereign antagonism within the federal system. Yet real-world interjurisdictional governance show that the boundary between state and federal authority is really an ongoing project of negotiation, taking place on levels both large and small. Reconceptualizing the relationship between state and federal power as one heavily mediated by negotiation reveals just how far federalism practice has departed from the zero-sum rhetoric. Better still, it offers hope for moving beyond the more paralyzing features of the federalism discourse, and toward the kinds of good governance that Americans of all political stripes hope for.

Faculty Biography

Included in

Law Commons